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What is your experience of booking/not booking specific seats when flying as a family?

(38 Posts)
NorbertDentressangle Sat 27-Nov-10 13:20:56

We're trying to book flights to the Canaries for early next year and debating whether we need to pay the extra to book specific seats or whether that's not necessary and we'll be able to sit together anyway.

Obviously I really don't want to end up all being dotted around the plane but DP thinks it wouldn't come to this.

DC are 11 and 6. Flight is 3-4 hours.

Anyone had good or bad experience?


purepurple Sat 27-Nov-10 13:24:46

Can you not do online check-in? That way you can get all your seats together.

mjinsparklystockings Sat 27-Nov-10 13:27:24

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LilRedWG Sat 27-Nov-10 13:30:20

I wouldn't bother for that short a flight - there're much better things to spend your money on. The six year old would have to be seated with an adult, and I imagine they would want the 11 year old with someone too. Worst case scenario, one of the adults gets plonked on their own. If so, my advice is make it you - and drink wine/read a book.

NorbertDentressangle Sat 27-Nov-10 13:31:31

So they would have to sit a 6yo next to a parent then?

That applies to all airlines I presume

mjinsparklystockings Sat 27-Nov-10 13:37:56

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NorbertDentressangle Sat 27-Nov-10 13:41:45

Exactly money grabbing bastards wink

mjinsparklystockings Sat 27-Nov-10 13:45:27

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mjinsparklystockings Sat 27-Nov-10 13:47:00

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NorbertDentressangle Sat 27-Nov-10 14:13:24

Rant away -I don't think anyone on here is going to say its unjustified!

It looks like its going to be Ryanair so anyone have any advice or experience related specifically to them? (We've flown budget airlines before but not Ryanair)

mjinsparklystockings Sat 27-Nov-10 14:15:28

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elvislives Sat 27-Nov-10 14:15:54

We went to the Canaries last year and were worried about this. We got to the airport really really early and must have been one of the first to check in, so we got seats together.

On the way home we were obviously arriving with everyone else on a coach. We ended up paying the extra because I am a really nervous flier and couldn't bear to be by myself/ just with DD.

Think it's a con though when there are only 2/3 of you- different story if you are trying to keep a party of 8/10 together.

mrska Sat 27-Nov-10 14:18:32

I would deffo book seats. I always do and have seen children spotted all round the plane without adults. We had a 9 year old next to us last summer, we looked after her but her mum was worried about her till she saw us with our 3 kids and knew she would be ok. Also you get to go on the plane first without having to que in the airport. It is honestly much less stressful to know that you all have seats together.

elvislives Sat 27-Nov-10 14:20:43

If you're going Ryanair you might like this

VivaLeBeaver Sat 27-Nov-10 14:21:05

I wasn't sat with DD on a Ryanair flight coming back from Tenerife. She was 7 at the time. We were last on the plane due to us not realising they'd changed the gate and we went to the original gate. Only 2 seats left on the plane a few rows away from each other and opposite sides. DD was hysterical, air hostess wouldn't help, people refused to move. I should have stood my ground and not sat down and quoted civil avaiation rules at them (didn't know them at the time). But they threatened to quick me off the plane when I staretd arguing. I should have called their bluff as they have to unload all the bags to find yours if you don't fly and it would have taken ages.

Anyway I've since flown with Thomsons and didn't prebook seats. They told me at check in not to worry as me and DD would always be sat together. So if its with a reputable airline I think an adult would always be with the kids, but all 4 of you may not be together.

ChippyMinton Sat 27-Nov-10 14:21:44

Can you book seats on Ryanair?

NorbertDentressangle Sat 27-Nov-10 14:21:59

elvis -thank you, I'll listen to that later (children with radar ears present at the moment grin)

VivaLeBeaver Sat 27-Nov-10 14:22:58

I don't think you can prebook seats on a Ryanair flight can you? You can pay for priority boarding but not sure how that works. They call you forward first but don't you all end up mixed together with the plebs on the little bus taking you to the plane? Or is there a seperate priority bus?

NorbertDentressangle Sat 27-Nov-10 14:24:35

oh no, don't feel quite so reassured now as some of you have not been seated with your children.

Might go and read up on Civil Aviation rules later

ChippyMinton Sat 27-Nov-10 14:26:14

When we've flown budget as a family,DH + eldest DC do the 'shove and run' procedure and bag seats whilst I follow at a more leisurely pace with the other two and the bags.

BA, however, will allocate seats for families before online check-in opens, so you can see what you're getting and can decide whether to pay for a different allocation or not.

NorbertDentressangle Sat 27-Nov-10 14:26:51

X posting all over the place here.

Re: pre-booking seats on Ryanair -DP was researching flights and I got the impression from him that there was this option. Will double-check.

BTW thanks to everyone contributing

Ragwort Sat 27-Nov-10 14:28:58

Depends on your children really - would they mind sitting apart from you? Our DS (7 at the time) really didn't care whether or not he sat with us, we were on a nine hour flight grin. I prefer not to be near my DH or DS .............

VivaLeBeaver Sat 27-Nov-10 14:29:49

CAA guidelines;

CAA guidelines ask airlines to develop procedures for the seat allocation of family groups, particularly when a group includes children. It is probable that family group members would seek each other out should an emergency evacuation be required, an action that could adversely affect the passenger flow rates towards emergency exits and might seriously affect the outcome of an evacuation.

Additionally, children and infants should be seated where they can be adequately supervised by an accompanying adult in the event of turbulence or a decompression in the cabin.

Airlines procedures should take into account the following factors:

Children, accompanied by adults, should ideally be seated in the same seat row as the adult. In wide-bodied aircraft, children and accompanying adults should not be separated by more than one aisle. Where this is not possible, children should be separated by no more than one seat row from accompanying adults.

I guess they're only guidelines though, not the law so don't have to be followed.

toomanychristmaslights Sat 27-Nov-10 14:34:03

For those of you who end up on a plane without enough seating together have you thought of the following ploy for the few occasions when people won't move

Please look after my child, they have a tendency to be airsick, here is a bag, but she is not a good shot, so you might want to remove your nice jumper ......

GrimmaTheNome Sat 27-Nov-10 14:38:30

We did online checkin last year to ensure DD seated with us - she's 11 but would have been distraught not to be next to one of us for takeoff/landing.

I'm glad we bothered, the airline (Olympic, nice scheduled flight)had distributed us in alternate seats across a row, on a flight that turned out to be full - the logic of it defies me. Probably in that configuration someone would have swapped but so much easier if they were just sensible in the first place.

It stuns me that no-one would move for a hysterical 7 year old, Viva angry.

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